News and Press Releases


Christiana Mall Armed Robber Pleads Guilty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2013

WILMINGTON, Del. – Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, and Stephen E. Vogt, Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that defendant Phillip Collier pled guilty yesterday afternoon to two counts of committing Hobbs Act Robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951, and one count of possessing and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c), for his role in two armed robberies of Zales Jewelry Stores located in the Christiana Mall in Newark, Delaware, and the Owings Mills Mall in Owings, Maryland.

According to facts disclosed at the change of plea hearing, on May 7, 2012, Collier, a forty-year old man from Brooklyn, New York, robbed a Zales Jewelry store in the Owings Mills Mall in Owings Mills, Maryland.  During the robbery, Collier pointed a firearm at store employees and directed employees to empty approximately $116,277.82 worth of jewelry into a bag he carried into the store.  Collier then ordered the employees into a back room of the store before he fled the mall. 

On August 6, 2012, Collier struck again, when he robbed another Zales Jewelry store in the Christiana Mall in Newark, Delaware.  Like the prior robbery, Collier pointed a firearm at store employees and directed employees to empty approximately $163,008.08 worth of jewelry into a bag he carried into the store.  Collier then ordered the employees into the store’s bathroom before he fled the mall.  However, before Collier could escape, Christiana Mall security notified the Delaware State Police about the robbery, and that Collier had entered another car located in the mall parking lot. 

Troopers from Delaware State Police-Troop 2 immediately responded to the scene and executed a traffic stop of the car in which Collier was located.  Collier was subsequently arrested in the car along with the stolen jewelry and the firearm used during the robbery.  Following his arrest, the FBI, along with the Baltimore County Police Department, also linked Collier to the Owings Mills Mall armed robbery through positive fingerprint identification.

United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III, said of the case: "This plea reflects the outstanding work of the Wilmington FBI office, the Delaware State Police, the Baltimore County Police Department, and Jamie McCall, the AUSA handling the prosecution, in the apprehension and conviction of a particularly brazen and dangerous offender, who carried out his crimes in crowded malls, risking the lives of patrons and employees of Zales Jewelry Stores.”   

Individuals who commit violent criminal acts with handguns in Delaware and Maryland will always be a priority for the FBI”, said Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt. “Our law enforcement partners in both states, along with security personnel in Delaware, did an outstanding job in investigating and prosecuting this case.”

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled by the District Court for September 19, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.  At sentencing, Collier faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each Hobbs Act Robbery offense, and a maximum penalty of up to life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years to be served consecutively to any other sentence for possessing and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. 

This case was investigated by the FBI, Wilmington Resident Agency, the Delaware State Police, and the Baltimore County Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Jamie M. McCall prosecuted the case.

For further information, contact Assistant United States Attorney Jamie M. McCall or United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III.
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